TCO 141 Emerging Technology Assignment

last modified 2019-10-16T16:10:09-04:00
Step 1: Brainstorm

 Choose one of the following National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges:

Once you've chosen a topic, state it as a question. For example, instead of "transportation systems," you might ask "How do we prevent the improper and unauthorized use of transportation systems, and reduce our vulnerability to their disruption, without seriously restricting mobility or violating individual rights?" Form your research as a question for a problem you want to solve.

Identify the main concepts and keywords in your question, and come up with alternatives. Ask yourself which words in your research topic are most important, and spend a few minutes thinking about alternative ways to phrase them. In our example, the most important keywords/phrases are "transportation systems," "unauthorized use," and "restricting mobility." You may consider replacing "transportation systems" with "mass transit."

Step 2: Find

Use the following to locate scholarly and non-scholarly articles:

  • Discovery - (Having trouble accessing this resource? Go to and 'Search Discovery') A resource that allows you to search multiple databases and the library catalog at the same time. While it does not include all of the resources Mercer University Library makes available, Discovery is a great place to get started with most research topics.
  • Science & Technology Collection - Topics include aeronautics, astrophysics, biology, chemistry, computer technology, geology, aviation, physics, archaeology, marine sciences and materials science. In addition to the full text, this database offers indexing and abstracts for more than 1,700 publications.
  • Web of Science — Provides detailed citations and abstracts for the top scholarly periodicals in the sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities. Includes the Science Citation Index, the Social Sciences Citation Index, and the Arts & Humanities Citation Index. Covers both domestic and international journals, open access resources, books, patents, proceedings, and Web sites.
  • Google and Google(Advanced Search) - Google can be a great place to begin the research process. If a search results in a Wikipedia article, use that article to get an overview of a topic as well as some different ways of phrasing the technology. These keywords can assist with higher-level searching in databases and other resources. An advanced search in Google provides an option to limit your searching to reputable and authoritative websites such as government (.gov), education (.edu), and organization (.org).

Know your sources:

  • Scholarly (Peer-reviewed) Journals vs. Popular Magazines - Need to find an academic, peer-reviewed, or scholarly article?  Check out this guide to help you identify what they are and how to find them.
    • Trade publications are a type of non-scholarly source that are geared toward the practitioners of a particular trade or industry. For engineers, some example trade publications include Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Smithsonian, and Spectrum. For additional information about trade publications, check out Colorado State University Libraries' guide to Popular vs. Trade vs. Scholarly.
  • Primary vs. Secondary Sources - Not sure how to identity the differences between a primary and secondary source? This tutorial reveals what distinguishes one from the other and shows examples of these types of sources for the Humanities and Sciences.
    • In addition to the examples found in the tutorial above, other primary sources for the Engineering fields include: patents, conference papers, dissertations, technical reports, and standards. Examples of secondary sources include: interpretations, commentaries, and evaluations on original research.
Step 3: Evaluate
    • CRAAP Test  - Depending on your field of study and current topic, you may use a variety of resources in your research. You will need to evaluate all of them to determine whether or not they are reliable and relevant to your current project. Whether you have a book, article, website, or other source, you can use the CRAAP Test to decide whether or not it's worth including in your resource list.
    Step 4: Cite
    • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition), Jack Tarver Library Circulation Desk, 2nd floor, BF76.7 .P83 2010 - The print version provides a more comprehensive use of the APA Style than the online version.